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More Palestinians escape Egypt prisons

Jan. 31, 2011 12:30 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 1, 2011 9:02 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Four more Palestinians who were held in an Egyptian prison returned to the Gaza Strip on Sunday.

Mu’tasem Al-Quka, jailed than seven years in Abu Za’bal prison, said, “I was detained while I was on my way to Egypt, on the accusations that I am an affiliate in Hamas movement.”

He added he did not know at first the charge against him was but later told it was for being a member of a movement banned in Egypt.

Al-Quka stressed that he was ill-treated in Egyptian prisons especially in Abu Za’bal prison. He said that the prisoners were able to flee the prison as the Egyptians demolished its walls.

He said many Palestinians were with him in the prison, eight of them from Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

A spokesman for prisoners held in Egypt, Imad As-Sayyid, identified the four who escaped from Abu Za'bal as Mu’tasem Al-Quka, Omar Sha’th, Muhammad Abdul Hadi, and Kom’a At-Talha.

The prisoners made their escape when thousands broke out of jails across Egypt amid an absence of police and chaos sparked by nationwide riots demanding the end of Hosni Mubarak's regime.

Among those who returned Sunday was Mohammed Al-Shaer, a big name on the cross-border smuggling scene, arrested six months ago, and Hassan Washah, who served three years of a 10-year term for unspecified security offenses.

Other prisoners were said to have reached Egypt's port city of El-Arish and were expected to reach Gaza later, official sources said.

Although they managed to enter by tunnel, most other movement of goods ground to a halt on Sunday, sparking fears of a fuel shortage in the Israeli-blockaded territory.

Abu Abed Alwahab, a Hamas border guard, said, however, that tunnel workers were being allowed into the frontier zone. "Our mission is to protect the border," he said.

"We prevent anyone from coming near, except for some workers in the tunnels."

AFP contributed to this report.
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